London Playwrights’ Workshop launches Women’s Musical Theatre Initiative

London Playwrights’ Workshop is partnering with musical theatre writing team Barlow & Smith to create the Women’s Musical Theatre Initiative (WMTI), a new development programme for female musical theatre writers.

The WMTI will launch with a cabaret ‘Celebrating Female Songwriters’ at The Pheasantry on 12 February 2018. The evening will be hosted by songwriters Barlow & Smith and will bring together a group of accomplished female songwriters to showcase new writing and to raise funds to support the initiative.

In 2017, The Stage reported that male writers outnumber female writers 9:1 in musical theatre, with women underrepresented as lyricists, bookwriters, and particularly as composers. The Women’s Musical Theatre Initiative (WMTI) aims to redress that imbalance.

The WMTI programme will have three strands:
1. Showcases for talented women artists – gaining exposure for female writers and helping those in the industry find and connect with new talent
2. Masterclasses for intermediate/advanced artists – helping them develop their skills and build their networks
3. An introductory writers workshop – encouraging more women to get into writing musical theatre, and give them the support and challenge to develop their skills

The writing showcases will launch in 2018, with the masterclass and workshop programmes starting in 2019.

The launch cabaret, ‘Celebrating Female Songwriters’ on 12 February features an impressive lineup of artists. The full songwriter lineup includes:

Rebecca Applin (Cameron Mackintosh Resident Composer 2017, BAFTA nominated)
Bella Barlow (Dream Queen Cabaret with Janie Dee at Globe Theatre)
Izo Fitzroy (Skyline album – gospel/blues)
Rosabella Gregory (City Stories – Brits Off Broadway Festival NYC)
Kate Marlais (Cameron Mackintosh Resident Composer 2018 at Lyric Hammersmith)
Maimuna Memon (Electrolyte; as performer – Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar at Regent’s Park, Lazarus)
Zara Nunn (PRS For Music Foundation Award Winner, In Versions)
Susannah Pearse (Jabberwocky with YMT)
A.C. Smith (Lock and Key at VAULT Festival)
Alex Young (Winner of S&S Award 2015; as performer – Young Sally in Follies at National Theatre)

The evening will feature new material, showcasing the talents of these songwriters, alongside some more established beloved classic songs written by female songwriters that have provided influence or inspiration.

They will be joined by special guest Caroline Sheen (Mary Poppins, Helen Hayes Award).

Other performing guests will be announced nearer the date of the cabaret.

All profits will go to support the running of WMTI workshop programmes.


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